Adult Obesity Prevalence Varies With Level of Urbanization

Increased obesity for men, women living in medium, small vs large metropolitan statistical areas.
Increased obesity for men, women living in medium, small vs large metropolitan statistical areas.

HealthDay News — For US adult males and females, the prevalence of obesity is 38.9 percent and varies with level of urbanization, according to a study published in the June 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Craig M. Hales, MD, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues examined the prevalence of obesity and severe obesity by subgroups in 2013 to 2016 and trends by urbanization level between 2001 to 2004 and 2013 to 2016. Complete data were available on weight, height, and urbanization level for 10,792 adults. 

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The researchers found that 38.9% of US adults had obesity and 7.6% had severe obesity during 2013 to 2016. Age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was increased for men living in medium or small metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) versus those living in large MSAs (42.4 vs 31.8%); the difference for men living in large MSAs vs non-MSAs was not statistically significant. Compared with women living in large MSAs, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was increased for women living in medium or small MSAs and for those living in non-MSAs (42.5 and 47.2%, respectively, versus 38.1%). The patterns were similar for severe obesity, although the difference between men living in large MSAs versus non-MSAs was significant.

"The age-adjusted prevalence of obesity and severe obesity in 2013 to 2016 varied by level of urbanization," the authors write.

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